Saturday, January 30, 2016

grateful gathering

In prison Friday morning, sitting in silence with Buddhist group, I hear, twice, from outside room, someone say, “Monks don’t speak." Then, as things are in prison, a rarified silence temporarily visits, as Yao, Saskia, Tree, Doug, Matthew, Chris, Reed, Rokie, and I entertained the visitor.

After bowing and circling walking mindfully arriving back and bowing again, we sit ready for words. And  a response to the outside-room koan spoken by patrolling koan-master arises: "monks don't speak, they are spoken through."

Later, the ping pong playfulness of dialogue moves side to side as Rokie follows blue handball from foot to foot along charcoal blankets over purple yoga mats. It is a sine-wave of perspectives rollercoastering from dammapada verses to survivalist strategies, from words written by former group member now serving time in federal prison to thoughts of anthropocene age approaching, from Jim Morrison lyric "break on through to the other side," to the humor of how to continue suffering.

If we are not long to remain here (in existence, as a human species, as particular human beings) what, someone ask, can we do now? It is suggested that, with compassion and love, as community and sangha, we can help one another to new view through death-in-life/life-in-death with grace and peace and fearlessness. And in this doula-like reverse transition, to consider and practice the possibilities of "passing on through to the other side" of which we have no evidentiary experience, except for glimpses of transformation and transcendance as fleeting as a dog's single bark heard over a wide open pasture.

There is a still and quiet shiver of sympathique that visits the zendo holding all of us as if in training to realize a new commission to be companions-interior, walkers-alongside, sitters-with, a new kind (kindness?) of counterintuitive hospice, walkers-into-life, assisting one another to see-feel touch-heal each and all we encounter toward and through the door named suffering into the open pasture of unspeaking sound in deep bow surrounding the sanctity of presence without barrier or boundary.

The shakuhachi teaches by example at end. It let's pass through what does not belong to it. Breath, temporarily diverted, released through small openings, sounding itself in a grateful gathering.

We are spoken through.

We are spoken for.

We are spoken with.

A unity of presence-silence breathing emptiness into deeper practice.





Thursday, January 28, 2016


There’s no telling.
Asked about the "greatest myth about poetry that has been perpetrated upon the readers of poetry" in an interview with the literary journal Crazy Horse in 1972, the poet Charles Simic answers, that this myth "must be the idea that a poem can be fully explicated, and in prose. I sense an immense terror behind that need. Get rid of mystery, out with complexity and imagination! A totalitarian impulse (UC 9).(--from, Orphan of Silence: The Poetry of Charles Simic, By Goran Mijuk
 Nor is anyone listening.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

dancing Greek and mellow Sorn*

Each time is the first time.

Why do anything twice?

(Nikos Kazantzakis and C.S. Lewis)
The séroni (singular sorn; the plural is sometimes given as sorns) are thin, fifteen-foot-high humanoids having coats of pale feathers and seven-fingered hands.[b] They live in mountain caves of the high country (harandra in the speech of the eldila), though they often descend into the handramit where they raise giraffe-like livestock. They are the scholars and thinkers of Malacandra, specializing in science and abstract learning. Their technical level is high, and they design machinery, which is built by the pfifltriggi. Although they can write, they do not compose written works of history or fiction as they feel the hrossa are superior at it. Their sense of humor "seldom got beyond irony" (Chap. 18) .

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

no time now

All is in all.

All in is all

as if prayer is arriving at itself

In solitude, world says nothing perfectly.

Earth passing through empty space. Cat watching passing morning cars up hill down hill.

Each instant in this monastic dimension, waiting as new wood on last night's coals, breath-rest and heart-fond sitting. 

As prayer itself, with no other place to be, takes everything in, holding each in reverence, signs an ancient mudra -- in nomine patris, et filii, et spiritus sancti -- gassho, namaste, shalom, salaam -- arigato!

Fire catches.

Monday, January 25, 2016

oremus pro invicem

In this monastery

No that

In open hermitage

No closed

In everyday grace

No recompense -- nothing owed nothing owned

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Evening Practice

Buddha didn't say to destroy the self.

He said there was no self.

Christ didn't say to condemn those who've done wrong.

He said they are already forgiven.

It is we humans who destroy and condemn.

Let those realizing no self and practicing mercy first come to inspire deluded views.

Responding faithfully to essential goodness; engaging completely causes and conditions.

One there